Of course, we are not lawyers, and this is not legal advice. As always, consult a legal professional for all legal matters and advice.
That being said, the changes to the Bittrex Terms of Service wording has us quite concerned. Here is a quote from the Terms of Service, Version 4, amended 1/21/2021:
RISK DISCLOSURE: BY ACCESSING OR USING ANY BITTREX SERVICES YOU ARE VOLUNTARILY CHOOSING TO ENGAGE IN SOPHISTICATED AND RISKY FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS. YOU ARE FURTHER ACKNOWLEDGING THAT YOU ARE AWARE OF THE MANY RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THE USE OF THESE SERVICES AND WITH ENGAGING IN TRANSACTIONS IN CRYPTOCURRENCIES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, RISKS OF FINANCIAL LOSS, TECHNOLOGY GLITCHES (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO PROBLEMS WITH THE BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY), AND HACKING. BITTREX WORKS HARD TO PROVIDE STATE-OF-THE-ART SYSTEMS AND SECURITY. NONETHELESS, CERTAIN ISSUES AND RISKS ARE UNAVOIDABLE, AND IF SUCH ISSUES OR PROBLEMS ARISE IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR USE OF BITTREX’S SERVICES, INCLUDING TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES WITH DEPOSITING OR TRADING CRYPTOCURRENCIES, IT MAY TAKE DAYS, WEEKS, OR MONTHS TO RESOLVE, AND SOME ISSUES MAY NOT BE RESOLVED AT ALL. BY AGREEING TO THESE TERMS, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT BITTREX IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE AFOREMENTIONED RISKS, AND YOU VOLUNTARILY ASSUME AND ACCEPT SUCH RISKS IN DECIDING TO ENGAGE IN CRYPTOCURRENCY TRANSACTIONS ON THE BITTREX PLATFORM.
Sometimes legal wording/disclaimers can be extra wordy and confusing. Often, this is done on purpose.
This updated terms of service can be broken down into 3 parts:
- There are risks in cryptocurrency transactions.
- Bittrex has told you about the risks.
- If you continue to use Bittrex knowing these risks, the responsibility for these risks are yours and not Bittrex.
While those 3 points seem sensible and realistic at first glance, but, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
Let us quote directly from the above language, only we will take out much of the wordage – without changing any of it – just to make a point:
YOU ARE AWARE OF THE MANY RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THE USE OF THESE SERVICES… INCLUDING …. HACKING. IT MAY TAKE DAYS, WEEKS, OR MONTHS TO RESOLVE, AND SOME ISSUES MAY NOT BE RESOLVED AT ALL. BY AGREEING TO THESE TERMS, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT BITTREX IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE AFOREMENTIONED RISKS, AND YOU VOLUNTARILY ASSUME AND ACCEPT SUCH RISKS.
Again, we’re not lawyers and this is NOT legal advice. As non-lawyers, we read the above statement and conclude that Bittrex is telling you that if they get hacked, the losses “MAY NOT BE RESOLVED AT ALL,” and that “BITTREX IS NOT RESPONSIBLE,” and finally, you “ASSUME AND ACCEPT SUCH RISKS.”
If our understanding is correct, that means that if Bittrex loses any of your money in any type of “hacking,” you’re out and you cannot hold Bittrex accountable for the losses.
Would you deposit into a bank if the bank’s legal disclaimer told you that if the bank gets robbed, you’re money is gone and you cannot hold the bank responsible?
That sounds exceptionally risky.